Diana: Drain On The Nation

By Hazel Last edited 157 months ago
Diana: Drain On The Nation
Diana Drain.jpg

It has been noted before that the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a bit of a disaster, in terms of its design, its usage and generally its existence.

Today we have the privilege of confirming its true degree of disaster in terms of money, which is a measure we all understand. And also, we like the fact the fountain has been compared to an "open drain" by the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee and want to milk the drain imagery as much as possible.

So... picture the pennies rolling out of the public pocket and across Hyde Park then swirling merrily down the drains of this most appalling waste of water and cash. That grinding sound over the tinkle of useful funds draining into nothingness is the gnashing of teeth.

The fountain has gone £2.2 million over budget.

The design and construction cost rose to £4.2 million

The opening ceremony cost £318,000

"Enhancement" works added a further £700,000

And, adding insult to the very real injuries suffered by visitors who were hurt slipping over in the muddy shallows of the thing, it will cost an amazing £250,000 a year to run.

Alan Williams, Labour MP, observed that "seems quite high for something that's a static exhibit. It works out at £700 a day."

Not everyone thinks the fountain is a bad idea; the open drain still has its defenders:

Asked by Sadiq Khan, a Labour member of the committee, if the monument was a "fiasco", Dame Sue Street, the department's permanent secretary, said: "There were difficult lessons to learn... but I don't think it can be described as a fiasco.

No dear, it can be described as a total fucking shambles .

This is a project that does not deserve to have its plug pulled out but is desperately needing its plug to be shoved firmly back in.

Last Updated 03 November 2005